Dance of Deception
Dance of Deception
Alex finished the song and chortled at the image of the reporters' faces. She'd done Taryn proud. Needing a buffer for her unwanted thoughts and feelings, she reluctantly considered going home to her cats. But she knew better than to depend on them to help her through this nightmare. Hadn't that been the reason she liked having them around in the first place-because of their low maintenance? Not like dogs, requiring more attention than she had time for or wanted to give. Sid and Sami kept her company. Oh yeah, and they didn't yap their heads off when someone came to the door.
Keeping her eyes on the road, Alex pawed through her handbag for the cell phone. Where the heck had she put it? She swerved to the curb and braked. "Oh crap." No one returned it, and she'd forgotten to ask. Forced to go back, she dreaded facing harassment from the paparazzi again. If they bothered her this time, she'd sing off key. She turned the car around.
When Alex arrived, the only vehicles in the parking lot belonged to police and school administrators. Surprised the vultures left, but happy to be free of their efforts at scavenging information, she headed to the door. She found it propped open by a rock. Morons. This happened all the time, before, during, and after school hours. Good for her, not so good for the security of the building. Certain the cops didn't want every Tom, Dick, and Harley intruding on their crime scene, she kicked the rock aside. Before entering the building, she stamped the snow off her boots then jerked the door closed behind her.
Alex hastened to the main office. The place deserted, she slipped behind the counter. After winding her way through the maze of secretary desks to the public address system, she snatched up the receiver. "Would the person in possession of Alex Tamburelli's cell phone please report to the main office?"
Dr. Deidre Pearson marched through the door. "Ms. Tamburelli, who granted you permission to use the P.A. system?" she asked, patting the back of her perfect chignon hairdo.
Alex quickly repeated the message, but changed the meeting place to the gym. As she replaced the receiver, she said, "No one here to ask. Besides, since school's not in session, I didn't think it would matter." She advanced toward the exit.
"In the future, check with me or my secretary beforehand. Is that clear?"
"Crystal," Alex said, hand on the doorknob and her back to the principal. The door banging shut behind her, she stomped down the hall. What's the big deal? During the school day, announcements interrupted the business of learning like commercials on TV.
Peeved and frustrated, Alex knew of only one way to blow off steam, short of flattening someone. She detoured to her office. Five minutes later, she unlocked the gym door using her master key and entered to the echo of a dribbling ball. Damn, she hadn't planned on sharing the court. She needed to work off the simmering anger-anger at the murder, anger at herself for not protecting Taryn.
Both from large families, they'd bonded almost from the beginning. Older sister to three brothers, Alex easily stepped into the same role with Taryn, the youngest of five. In the early stages of their relationship she, a former English teacher, mentored Taryn. They quickly upgraded to best friends once they channeled it beyond the classroom.
Alex bounced down the stairs to the girls' locker room. She changed into a white tank top, black velour pants, and athletic shoes stowed in the duffle bag she'd nabbed from her office. In warmer weather, she jogged around the outdoor track several times a week and, in the winter, the indoor. Today she needed more.
Back upstairs, she stood on the sidelines. Substitute teacher, Vince Martindale, dreadlocks flopping against his white t-shirted back, dribbled the ball down the court. His calf muscles flexed with each